John’s first album, Dusk Came Slow, was released 5 years ago tomorrow (2/03/06), back when he was a college student at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh in his last semester. Dusk went on to receive the Madison Area Music Award (Madison, WI) for “Folk/Americana Album of the Year” in 2007. So much has changed since this first, humble release, including two more full-length studio albums (Our Love Was Made For Canada and Ghost Towns), a live album (An Evening With John Statz) and this year’s new EP (The Budapest Sessions). Also, John went from playing shows around Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region around the time of the first album’s release, to, at present, having played in 31 states (including Alaska), 5 Canadian cities, and 8 European countries.
A lot has, indeed, changed. In honor of the first batch of songs, download your copy for pay-what-you-want (or nothing at all), or order a physical copy for a mere $6 from John’s Bandcamp store.
The Budapest Sessions will be released on January 10th, 2011 for “pay what you want download” at johnstatz.bandcamp.com.
In the early months of 2009, singer-songwriter John Statz embarked on his first European tour, playing shows in five European cities, including Budapest, Hungary. He was fortunate there to meet Adam Szabo, a local producer (Budabeat Studios), and during the few days in town they recorded some new songs, hoping to use them on a future album release. In November of that year, tracking started back in Wisconsin for Ghost Towns, John’s first full-band album. Though that project was already underway, another recording session was undertaken at Budabeat with Adam, from which two tracks made it on to Ghost Towns: “Julija” and “Night Train to Sarajevo”. After that album’s release, there remained six unreleased tracks from the “Budapest Sessions”, comprised of two new songs, unheard on any other recordings, and four alternate, acoustic versions of released tracks.
Though the recordings are sparse in production, a couple of them feature some local Hungarian musicians on electric guitar and percussion, and even a child’s harmonies on one tune. Budapest is an amazingly resilient and beautiful city, having been utterly destroyed in World War II, yet rebuilt, lovely on the banks of the Danube, and fascinating in its differences to most other places in Europe. Those influences were constantly internalized during the two visits, and projected outwardly during The Budapest Sessions.
1.Call Me Last (new song) – 2010 session
2.Jackson Hole (Budapest version) – 2009 session
3.Our Love Was Made For Canada (Budapest version) – 2010 session
4.Dear Friend (new song) – 2009 session
5.Disclaimer (Budapest version) – 2009 session
6.Everything To Me (Budapest version) – 2009 session
*cover artwork by Heidi Keyes (www.heidikeyesart.com)
I was extremely honored to have Ghost Towns take the #2 spot in The Isthmus‘s (Madison, WI) list of “The 10 Best Madison Albums of 2010”.
“When Statz moves away from social commentary, his best songs still brood. “Wichita Waltz” reflects on lost love with a twang that’s high on pathos.”
“The 10 Best Madison Albums of 2010” – The Isthmus
“The whole thing [Ghost Towns] is packed with tasty full-band americana…”
“john statz is a fantastic americana / singer-songwriter…”
Vocal Nerd Rodeo – Chicago, IL
“…a hard-chugging roots-rock record in the tradition of Neil Young and Tom Petty…”
Shepherd Express – Milwaukee, WI
Ghost Towns received a write-up in Denver’s weekly entertainment rag, Westword. Here is a quote:
“The singer-songwriter’s unquenchable wanderlust has taken him from Colorado to Wisconsin to West Virginia to Hungary, and during his travels, he wrote Ghost Towns, a full-length dripping with folk-rock immediacy and the kind of grit that cooled heels never gather.”
For the full review, visit Westword.com.
Also, all physical CD orders from the Bandcamp website will now be signed personally by John because, well, why not? He mails them out himself, anyways 🙂
John will be returning to Wisconsin and the Midwest in November, just in time for Thanksgiving! Here is the complete list of tourdates, for more info visit the calendar page:
Nov. 19th – Cafe Semolino, Hays, KS
Nov. 20th – Californos, Kansas City, MO
Nov. 21st – Common Grounds, Fayetteville, AR
Nov. 22nd – The Gramophone, Saint Louis, MO
Nov. 23rd – The Red Line Tap, Chicago, IL
Nov. 24th – The Art Bar, Milwaukee, WI
Nov. 26th – Kavarna, Green Bay, WI
Nov. 27th – Stumpjack Coffee, Two Rivers, WI
Nov. 28th – High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI